Ohio officials plan to create a single, online location for employees and employers to learn about all the state’s programs for jobs and workers.
There are a lot of assets throughout Ohio for businesses to find workers, said Rich Frederick, executive director of the Office of Workforce Transformation with Gov. John Kasich’s office. Though many of the state agencies have programs to aid in helping employers or job seekers, those programs are not always well-known or publicized.
“By the time you add up all the places businesses can go for work-force help, there are 1,300 different points of entry,” he said. “It’s not a good thing. It’s confusing.”
In addition, each of these different points of entry has its own process, Frederick said. Even within state agencies, the process could be different based on the individual program.
The state intends to reduce the number of entry points and processes down to one, Frederick said. It will become a much-simpler process for companies seeking Ohio workers.
“Employers will have one place to find information about resources and the types of training available in their area,” he said.
The hope is the state’s effort will get people to the right place more quickly in local offices. They will not have to contact or go to One-Stop offices and then possibly be directed elsewhere, said Bert Cene, executive director of the Mahoning and Columbiana County Training Association, which oversees the One-Stop office and Workforce Investment Act programs in the two counties.
“It will provide an assessment or screening process before they get to us, which will result in less use of resources,” he said.
In addition, local offices should learn more about less-known state programs, Cene said.
Any changes that streamline the process and make it easier for people will be an improvement, said Frank Flaminio, supervisor of the One-Stop office in Trumbull County.
Additional help at the local level that improves service “is the name of the game,” he said.
Currently, under the One-Stop system in Ohio, local agencies can have their own website and contact information, said Mary Ann Kochalko, chief operating officer of the One-Stop system in Mahoning and Columbiana counties.
The Mahoning and Columbiana districts have chosen to share a site with the Trumbull County district because of proximity and their working relationships, she said.
“I think things went bad here a lot earlier than in the rest of the state,” Kochalko said. “We learned to work together to survive.”
In the Mahoning Valley, business and government officials have created a business-resource network to talk to employers, learn about their needs and attempt to develop programs to help, she said.
The system developed in this area has served as an example for the rest of the state, Kochalko added.